How Brightly Will Tokenize Social Impact E-Commerce
Do you find yourself buying brand-new products only to throw them away later? Sometimes we throw things away just because we don’t like them anymore. Other times products are just cheaply built and don’t last as long as we expected. We’re all a little guilty of buying more than we actually need. We often forget that this habit is damaging to the environment.
According to Greenpeace, “Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014. The average person buys 60 percent more items of clothing every year and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago.” During her career at Amazon, Laura Alexander Wittig, CEO and founder of Brightly, experienced firsthand the waste that fast fashion was creating.
Wittig worked in the fashion vertical, increasing sales of shoes, handbags, and clothing. She was struck by the fact that most items were not meant to last — they looked as if they would fall apart quickly. In addition, she realized that free returns are damaging to the environment due to greenhouse gases released by thousands of delivery vehicles. She left Amazon to work as a Senior Strategist and Program Manager at Google where she was responsible for helping millions of Google users access crisis hotlines on Search in emergency situations. She began to think about how people can change the world with small changes in the way they pursue everyday activities.
“The traditional model of social-impact enterprises being funded by donations puts a lot of onus on the individual to find a company they believe in to donate to. That’s a lot to ask of people in this busy world” — Laura Alexander Wittig, CEO and founder of Brightly
Given her background, the idea of shopping and marketplaces came to mind. That’s when she started Brightly, a marketplace for people to discover and share eco-friendly and sustainable goods. Brightly currently sells items that relate to fashion, home goods, and beauty. In the future, it will feature a content database for the community to learn more about living a sustainable lifestyle.
Social Impact E-Commerce
Organic, recycled, biodegradable — these common terms play an important role in the health of our planet. Consumers prefer products that are sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly. According to Fast Company, “when millennials trust a company’s social and environmental practices, 90 percent say they’ll buy from that brand.”
Both emerging startups and established corporations are pledging to using renewable, recyclable, or certified materials. Direct-to-consumer brands like Allbirds and Parachute Home have launched a new line of eco-friendly products. According to Grand View Research, the global green packaging market was $152.2 billion in 2016. People are getting excited about ethical consumerism, particularly millennial women influenced by shows like “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” a Netflix series about minimalism, organization, and keeping a tidy lifestyle. The series has sparked a trend in keeping only the things that give you “a spark of joy.”
There are many companies with social-impact initiatives, but there are also many companies like Burberry, whose June 2018 annual report revealed that in recent years it has burned nearly $40 million per year of unsold stock. (The company changed its policy after the report sparked public outcry. Burberry says it will now try to reuse, repair, donate, or recycle unsold products.) There is a lot more that can be done for social impact in e-commerce. Wittig saw a need in the market for the discovery of environmentally friendly brands and their products. Brightly currently has more than 40 brands on its platform, ranging from mom-and-pop operations to companies that generate millions in revenue.
A Flourishing Community
A token economy will help Brightly foster a collaborative community portal where users can contribute, learn, and give back to the causes that matter most. A core goal is to allow people to donate tokens to sustainable charities. Apart from making sure that products are created with an eco-friendly supply chain, some brands donate a portion of their revenues to specific charities. Brightly is constantly looking into partnerships across different sectors that would allow users to donate tokens.
Brightly was part of the OST KIT Alpha II: Developers POC challenge. Their proof-of-concept project includes two types of transactions:
- Company-to-user: Tokens will be airdropped from the company to users for purchasing products in the marketplace.
- User-to-company: Tokens will be sent from users to the company when users spend tokens in the company marketplace or donate them to a charity partner.
Users will be rewarded for purchasing products. Brightly hopes to go beyond a simple reward structure by rewarding users that help build a better platform. This means collaborators would be rewarded for contributing content and users would be rewarded for writing helpful product reviews. Brightly is also exploring the option to allow users to transfer tokens to other users as kudos for contributed content. The content portal is planned for launch in Q1 2019. Once the content portal is up and running, Brightly will test the OST platform with collaborators. After enhancing UX details and making sure everything is working properly, Brightly plans to launch its loyalty token program in early fall, in time for the 2019–20 holiday season.
Brightly on OST LIVE
Laura Alexander Wittig sat down with José Mota to talk about the goals of Brightly, how a token economy will foster a content-based platform, and why she chose to work with OST. If you’re interested in Brightly and are looking for an opportunity to get involved from a development perspective, feel free to email Laura directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OST blockchain infrastructure empowers new economies for mainstream businesses and emerging DApps. OST leads development of the OpenST Protocol, a framework for tokenizing businesses. In September 2018 OST introduced the OpenST Mosaic Protocol for running meta-blockchains to scale Ethereum applications to billions of users. OST KIT is a full-stack suite of developer tools, APIs and SDKs for managing blockchain economies. OST partners reach more than 300 million end-users. OST has offices in Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, and Pune. OST is backed by leading institutional equity investors including Tencent, Greycroft, Vectr Ventures, and 500 Startups.